After a tumultuous week in Victoria, and a cold spell that is well and truly here, we’re smashing out a cracking value Shiraz from a crafty, small and exciting winemaker in the Barossa Valley. The eponymous label is Head Wines, by good guy winemaker Alex Head. Alex is inspired by all things French Shiraz, inspired by fragrance, spice, concentration and elegance of the steep and sun filled slopes of Cote Rotie (one of our favourite regions at Press). He works with growers in the higher reaches of Barossa Valley and the neighbouring Eden Valley. The growers all farm sustainably and organic where possible.
The suite of Head Wines is impressive, achieving restrained power and elegance with the intense, concentrated and juicy Barossa and Eden fruit. The Head Red Shiraz is the first level of his Shiraz wines and is essentially barrels that start out with ambitions of being in the top bottles, but are declassified during the blending process. We’re waiting for press on this wine, but the 2018 earned a handy 96 points from Halliday. Entire production for Head Wines is only 6000 dozen, and 2019 was a low yielding year in Barossa, so we are still looking at artisan level quantities and the quality on show portrays this. Integrity and quality at a ridiculous $25.00 price.
The Head Red 2019 is made up with 80% of elegant Eden Valley fruit and 20% of powerful Barossa Valley fruit from Moppa and Stonewell vineyards. There is a small amount of whole bunch included, boosting the spice and perfume, and the wine is matured in French oak barriques. The new oak is only 5% and it really just lets the fruit to the talking. According to Alex, this is the best value and most traditional wine in his portfolio.
2019 is a rich and powerful vintage, in the hands of a winemaker that values balance and freshness. It is full bodied, dense, dark and clean. Drink this over the next 12 to 24 months. A great, full bodied red to have on hand this winter. Drink with slow cooked meats, pies, hard cheeses or smoothly on its own.
Tom and Dan